The Not So Incredible Shrinking Woman

It was mid January of this year, when I finally decided I had enough of being 50 pounds over weight and began a serious attempt to start losing weight. I dusted off the treadmill, broke out the diet entrees, put my head down and started the grueling process. The hardest part is portion control and not thinking about food 24-7. Have you noticed how many commercials there are on TV showing delicious foods? Then the next one is about losing weight on Nutri-system or Jenny Craig, okay, I’m officially confused.

After sixty days of walking the treadmill five to six days a week and watching what I ate I could see little difference, except my shoes were looser. Can you believe it? I was losing weight in my freaking feet. They never looked fat to me! I needed a new plan.

I stepped up my exercise plan, starting to run on the treadmill and doing the Bowflex three times a week. I bought new Nike running shoes, and the Nike+ for my Ipod. I had to give up running outside due to the beating my body took and the desire to pick up the cherry gummy bears lying on the sidewalk.

To aid me in not craving food I sent away for some Acai Berry tablets that supposedly boosted your metabolism. It may have been all in my head but they did work, along with the stepped up exercise, I have managed to lose twenty pounds. Of course I still have to point the weight loss out to people which is disheartening. At this age, I am not dropping 4 dress sizes when I lose 20 lbs. like I see on TV. I have gone from a woman’s size 1X to a misses size 14 which by the way still looks huge in the Dress Barn mirror. (I hate that mirror).

The ugly truth about losing weight when you are close to sixty is that it is no picnic. There is the post-menopausal paunch that all the crunches in the world have little to no effect on, the wrinkles that weren’t there before you lost weight, the chicken arms flapping in the breeze..

This time I am driven to stick to it, it may take me a year(or more) to lose the 50 pounds, but by god I am going to do it.

I’m sure glad they invented Miller 64 beer. That’s one thing I don’t have to give up..So lay in the beer, I’m on my way to Michigan!

In The Sweet By and By

I had a visit from my Dad today. Now I know this sounds strange as he has been gone for almost three years. But he was with me, just as sure as I am sitting here typing this tonight.

We were at Mass this morning and sometimes if no one is sitting next to me, I make a space for Dad to sit, just in case he would like to. It was after the homily when the choir started the Offertory hymn, “In The Sweet By and By”. As I listened, suddenly Dad came to my mind and we were back home in our house on Orchard Street in Delton. It appeared he had just come home from church and he was clapping his hands and tapping his feet, as he often did when he was happy, to the rhythm of the song. It was his kind of song. He loved the old time hymns like “Peace Is Flowing Like a River”, and his absolute favorite was “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”

I will never forget when the choir sang it and I was featured in the beginning. When we were finished, my Dad jumped to his feet and began applauding and the whole congregation followed suit. I was so happy that he approved.

Sometimes I feel so far away from my Dad, but today he was with me, and I will continue to attend Mass in hopes of spending another few minutes with him. I love you Dad.

God Chose Me

I ventured out and attended Mass this past Sunday. It seems I am on an every other week schedule lately. For some reason at times I can’t make myself get up and go. (My get up and go, got up and went). Seriously, at times I think, “what’s the use?” Obviously these are times I am experiencing depression and deep down looking for excuses not to go.

Growing up Catholic we were raised on guilt, both from our parents and the church. If you don’t go to Mass, you’re on the highway to hell. We HAD to go every Sunday. That got a little old needless to say and some of us missed the point. One of the points being it enriches our lives….

In discussing this with my fellow Catholic Sandy,I complained that I fight going because I don’t seem to get anything out of it and if my attitude is bad, I get even less. She reminded me that it isn’t what we get out of it, but what we bring to it. Well that statement made me stop and think. Going to Mass becomes such a habit, a lot of us forget that we participate. I love to sing, that is a gift from God that I return to him.

Sunday we celebrated the Sixth Sunday of Easter and the Readings referenced the greatest command, Love one another as God loves us. We are his friends if we keep his commands. No greater love exists than this, to lay down one’s life for a friend.
The next words in the Gospel really got my attention: “For it was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain”. So there it is..the mission is clear to me now. It would be much easier for me to attend Mass every Sunday if I still belonged to choir and had a reason to be there, something to make me go, but maybe it is better that I have to make a conscious decision to go, with my friend Sandy’s voice always in my mind.

Children Of The Eucharist

Every year around Mothers Day the Catholic Church welcomes its young members to the Body of Christ through First Holy Communion. This was called to my attention this year by my friend Donna back in Kalamazoo, whose Son Dominic, received Holy Communion for the first time on Sunday. He participated in the Presentation of the Gifts, carrying down the wine for consecration. I can see it now, the large decanter of wine, sloshing from side to side, everyone holding their breath, his Mom hoping he would stop and give her a sip…

All of this reminded me of my First Communion. This was all before Vatican II. The Priest said Mass in latin with his back to us, the nuns threatened us if we dared turn around and looked at anyone during Mass, you know, the usual.

I was seven years old and looking forward to it. My Godmother and all my relatives were there from Chicago for Mass. Afterward, both sides of the family would be at my house for the celebration. There was a beautiful cake baked by Steve Scott (who was allergic to flour), but made it as a favor to my Dad.

That Sunday morning was beautiful, I woke up with a horrible case of diarrhea and a fever. Was I too sick to go? Heck no. I remember distinctly how Mom went to the medicine cabinet and got the essence of peppermint out. It worked. I put on the white communion dress and veil that my cousin Mary let me use, my white patent leather shoes and socks and I was ready to go. It was July, Mass was long and it was so hot in the church, but I made it. We were special and got receive communion first. I can still remember the way the host felt when the priest placed it on my tongue. We had to let it dissolve on our tongue, we would go to hell if we chewed it. (Or so it seemed.) Things have changed so much in the church since then. Children are taught the love of God rather than the wrath of God.

Fortunately I still have pictures that capture that day. The whole extended family standing under the huge hickory nut tree in our front yard. All the special food and cake, it was my day.

So welcome Dominic, to the most special Sacrament of the church, may God be with you always.